Plan to axe 13 London fire engines to save £8m

Fire engine Image copyright LFB
Image caption The engines have been decommissioned since a firefighters' strike in 2013

The London Fire Commissioner has recommended taking 13 fire engines permanently out of service in order to save £8.1m from the 2016/17 budget.

The removal of the engines, which have lain idle for two years, would leave 142 active vehicles in the capital.

Savings from the proposal would be invested in making more staff available to crew Fire Rescue Units.

But the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said it would be "dangerous and reckless" to get rid of them permanently.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has released three plans to make the savings.

It insists no stations will close and no firefighters will be forced to leave their jobs.

'Four seconds'

The Brigade said it had continued to meet London-wide attendance time targets while the 13 engines had been out of service.

It said that bringing them back would improve response times by about four seconds for the first engine to reach the scene.

An alternative proposal has been put forward by London Assembly Member Andrew Dismore, who recommends putting the 13 fire engines back into service but making savings by establishing alternate crewing at stations with some specialist appliances.

The proposals will be discussed on 2 December and there will be a full public consultation on how the Brigade will find the savings, LFB said.

The FBU said it was "opposed to the removal of any fire engine from London."

A spokesman said: "In wake of the Paris attacks, it would be dangerous and reckless to reduce the number of fire engines and we would urge the London Fire Brigade to think again.

"The ten fire stations that were closed last year increased response times. By removing these fire engines, we fear that response times could increase again."

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